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Colic

By: Dr Philip Johnson

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How is Colic Prevented?

  • Provide potable water at all times
  • Critical and frequent observation of the horse
  • Provide excellent quality roughage at all times
  • Do not feed an excessive quantity of grain
  • Prevent sudden diet changes (any necessary diet change should be gradual)
  • Routine deworming, vaccination, and dental prophylaxis
  • Afford regular exercise; do not stall-confine for long periods
  • Prevent obesity
  • Provide bran mash daily
  • Occasionally, administer Metamucil™ (once every 2 weeks)
  • DO NOT ADMINISTER DRUGS (especially phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine) without appropriate justification and supervision by your veterinarian. Use of many of these drugs is known to increase the risk for colic.

    Remember that individual horses that develop colic appear to be predisposed to colic for reasons that are incompletely understood. Therefore: Special attention should be paid to the individual that has developed colic at any time, and particular attention should be addressed to known preventive mesaures - see above.

    Likely Prognosis

    Most cases of colic are simple and respond favorably to straightforward treatment. Less than 4 percent of all colic cases require surgical intervention. Most cases of colic carry a very favorable prognosis.

    It should be noted that usually it is not possible to define the cause of colic in individual horses. Most horses with colic respond to nonspecific treatment and a diagnosis may not be possible.

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